Next level athletes: Nevada Union honors student-athletes set to compete at the college level
Seven graduating seniors from Nevada Union will be taking their athletic talents to next level.
“These seven wonderful young men and women have spent their lives submerged in the dedication, hard work and sacrifice it takes to make it to this moment,” Nevada Union Athletic Director Dan Crossen said at a ceremony honoring the student-athletes last week. “These seven have earned a gift millions of others each year wish they could enjoy — the opportunity to choose to continue doing what they love.”
The seven Miners who will be competing in their chosen sport at the college level include Kolby Amaral (Simpson University/baseball), Danielle Gil (College of the Siskiyous/volleyball), Kailee McLaughlin (Cedarville University/volleyball), Drake Schlachter (Montana Tech University/track and field), Travis Selby (Chico State/cross-country, track), Jake Slade (Sacramento State/cross-country, track) and Aidan Wahl (Westcliff University/volleyball).
Amaral was a leader on and off the field for Nevada Union’s baseball team.
“It’s like having a fourth coach on the squad,” NU head coach Ted White said after a game in April. “His biggest attribute is his leadership.”
The talented catcher also led the Miners in several statistical categories as well. Amaral tallied team bests in batting average (.392), hits (29), extra base hits (8), runs (18) and stolen bases (7). He was also a standout defensively, posting a .988 fielding average. He was named to the All-Foothill Valley League team for his efforts.
Amaral is headed to Simpson University, where he plans to play for the Redhawks baseball team. Simpson is an NAIA school that competes in the California Pacific Conference.
Gil has been a key member of the NU girls volleyball team for the past two seasons. In her senior season, she provided the team with leadership, a strong knowledge of the game and a potent serve.
“(Gil’s) a great leader and she’s maximizing her strengths,” NU head coach Chrys Dudek said. “She has a really strong serve.”
Gil will be taking her abilities to College of the Siskiyous, which is a member of the California Community College Athletic Association and competes in the Golden Valley Conference.
With elite athleticism and a competitive nature, McLaughlin was a force at the net for the NU girls volleyball team.
“(McLaughlin) is just an amazing athlete,” Dudek said. “She can jump out of the gym and hit the ball through the floor. … She’s a great leader and a great kid.”
As a junior, she was instrumental in the team’s run to the 2019 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game, earning All-league honors along the way. As a senior, she continued her impressive play on the court, and was a valued leader on the team as she helped guide the program’s up-and-coming players.
McLaughlin is headed to Cedarville University (Ohio), which is a NCAA Division II school that competes in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Whether he was on the football field or the track, Schlachter’s speed is apparent and impressive.
When it came to track and field, Schlachter shined in the sprints and jumps for the Miners. Across four starts in the 100-meter dash, Schlachter earned a first, two seconds and a fourth, with a personal best time of 11.55 seconds. In the long jump, he competed five times, earning a first, three seconds and a fourth, with a personal best of 20 feet, 4.75 inches.
NU’s football team only played two games this season, and Schlachter was impressive in both. As a receiver, he tallied six catches for 209 yards and a touchdown. He also was 3-for-3 passing, including a touchdown toss. Defensively, he had an interception and made nine tackles. He was named the team’s Michael E. Bratton II Award winner.
Schlachter has committed to compete on the track and field team at Montana Tech University, which is an NAIA school that competes in the Frontier Conference.
“When Drake came out for track after he finished up football, he immediately boosted the whole team,” said NU tack and field coach Kevin Selby. “His ability to lead is a valuable asset and makes a huge difference.”
With dedication, determination and preparation, Travis Selby excelled on the track and the cross-country trails.
“His strongest quality is his passion for the sport,” said Kevin Selby, Travis’ coach and father. “He is very thorough with his training, and his attention to detail is key to his success.”
The standout distance runner pieced together a strong senior season in both cross-country and track for the Miners. In cross-country, Travis Selby tallied a first, two seconds and a third across four meets, with a personal best 3-mile time of 16:15. On the track, Travis Selby was especially strong in the 1,600, notching a first, a second, two thirds and a sixth, with a personal best of 4:33.03.
Travis Selby is headed to Chico State, where he plans to compete on both the Wildcats’ cross-country and track teams. Chico State is a NCAA Division II school that competes in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Whether he’s on the track or a cross-country trail, Slade can usually be found at the front of the pack.
“Jake made the decision to be good, especially after he faced adversity,” said Kevin Selby, referring to some injuries Slade had to overcome. “Every time he had a setback, he came back more focused.”
During the cross-country season, Slade earned three first place finishes to go with a second place finish, with a personal best time of 16:37.9. On the track, Slade shined in the 800 and 1,600 races. The talented runner notched four first place finishes in the 800, with a personal best of 2:00.25. He earned three first place finishes in the 1,600, with a PR of 4:27.30.
Slade is committed to Sacramento State and will compete in both cross-country and track. Sacramento State is a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Big Sky Conference.
Wahl’s exceptional athleticism made him a two-sport standout in his senior year. The talented athlete’s primary sport is volleyball where he was a star outside hitter for the Miners.
“He hits hard, and he’s a super high jumper,” NU head coach Lance Mansuetti said.
While Wahl shined on the volleyball court, he also impressed on the track and field team as the squad’s top thrower. Wahl threw shot put in four meets this season, earning three firsts and a third. His personal best was a heave of 41-9.75. He was also a standout in discus, tallying three third place finishes.
Wahl has committed to play volleyball at Westcliff University (Irvine), which is a NAIA school that competes in the California Pacific Conference.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User